Even though portable turntables aren’t selling as well as iPhones and iPods, the truth of the matter is that they’re becoming more popular these days, mainly in part to the vinyl revival that has taken place in the past five years. The best portable turntables are not only sought after by producers and DJ’s and other types of music professionals but now, audiophiles are making it a point to bring their music along with them during their trips abroad.
In order to choose a high-quality model, you’ll need to consider certain aspects of the turntables currently on the market, including the model, size, and manufacturer. The technical information is also important. This can include the tonearm, drive type, media supported, and speed. Additionally, the ports, audio, and dimensions can also help you to determine which model will work for you and your travels.
Before we head into the Guide section, we wanted to give you a list of the top turntables for this year along with a comparison chart illustrating their features.
Top Portable Turntables Comparison Chart
Our Top Models
Audio Technica LP60BK Portable Turntable
Audio Technica have been on top of their game for quite some time now. Their LP60BK portable turntable is no exception. It is a great model which checks all the boxes. It is relatively lightweight, has a ton of features, looks great, and most importantly is cheaper than its competition. It is easy to carry around if you move a lot and is ideal for family trips. All you will need here is a pair of speakers and you will be all set for a great experience.
1ByOne Belt Drive 3-Speed Portable Turntable
Apart from the Audio Technica Turntable, this one made by 1ByOne is a close second place. It is just as affordable but lacks some of the features found on the LP60BK. Overall, it is a great introduction into the world of portable turntables. It has a stylish look, sturdy construction, and great sound quality. It is one of the lightest models we have reviewed as well, making it super easy to carry around.
Wockoder Bluetooth 3-Speed Portable Turntable
If you have an eye for retro turntables this one made by Wockoder will blow you away. It has an eye-catching design but beneath its shell it packs a full array of modern features such as Bluetooth, a headphone jack, RCA, and others. Unlike the other portable turntables on this list this one comes in a wide range of colors for you to choose from. That adds to the overall uniqueness which Wockoder offers you. Its only downside is that the construction isn’t as sturdy as some other models in this price range.
Stanton STR8150 Portable Turntable
This easily recognizable turntable classic made by Stanton is one of the best professional turntables out there. It does everything you could think of and has a best-in-class sound. Still, the lack of a closing lid and the weight of this model make it a less desirable option for ordinary audiophiles. If you are looking for something to play at parties and even maybe earning money with, this is the model to go with.
Pyle Pro PTT25UBT Portable Turntable
The main advantage that the Pyle Pro offers you is the fact that you can record your collection of old vinyl collection to any type of digital format. This allows you to store them better and keep them for years to come without worrying about breaking or scratching them. The PTT25UBT is a relatively sturdy turntable which has the 1960s feel to it. All that in a body which weighs less than 2 pounds, which makes it the lightest turntable in the world.
What to Look for in a Portable Turntable that’s Travel-Friendly
Consumers are searching for travel-friendly portable record players because they can be the perfect addition to any trip, instead of just an accent piece in the home. Obviously, a full sized turntable wouldn’t be practical for travel, but a compact, portable model will have the same types of features traditional models do, but now, you can enjoy your vinyl wherever you are in the world.
When you’re shopping for a portable turntable, you’ll need to pay attention to certain features including built-in speakers, playing speeds, power source, and overall versatility.
The first question you need to ask yourself is whether or not built-in speakers matter to you. There are many models of portable record players that don’t come equipped with speakers, however, you can set up external speakers or use headphones. If you choose a portable turntable with built-in speakers just keep in mind that many of these models aren’t very loud.
Another basic feature to look for are the playing speeds available. Usually, you’ll get a few playing speeds at thirty-three, forty-five, and seventy-eight RPM. The platter and cartridge arm should be constructed from high-quality materials in order to avoid scratching your vinyl.
Other features include:
- RCA jacks
- audio in/out jacks
- PC compatibility
Some models of portable turntables are able to do more than just play records. There are some that can be connected to your PC or laptop, allowing you to convert your records into digital files. Other turntables have built-in AM and FM radio. Other popular features include adjustable pitch control and automatic speed selectors.
Power source options are also important. Most models can be directly plugged into an outlet, however, the best models can be charged when hooked up to your PC via a USB port. There are also some types of portable turntables that run on batteries or have built-in rechargeable batteries. If you end up with an electric powered model, make sure you bring along the proper outlet adapter if you’re traveling overseas.
Size will also be important. Obviously, you’re looking for a record player that’s travel-friendly, but even portable options have their limitations. Make sure the model you’re interested in will fit inside your checked baggage. Many models come in a type of briefcase style design, so you can just lock the cover when not in use and transport it around using the built-in handle. Because record players, in general, can be damaged easily, these briefcase style turntables can be easily taken on an airplane and stored in the overhead bin.
Finally, anyone searching for a portable turntable needs to understand the different drive types. There are a couple of types of drive: belt and direct. Direct has a motor located under the platter which makes it turn. The advantage here is that it can stop or start easily. When stopped, it’s much easier to place the stylus in the correct position. The big disadvantage is that the platter in direct drive models is often much lighter compared to belt drive options. This means that the vibration of the platter can cause unwanted noise. Belt models work to minimize noise and offer speed consistency. With the belt drive record player, you’ll need to manually place the needle once the platter starts spinning.
Benefits of Portable Record Players
For most audiophiles, if you love the crisp and at times, raw sound that you can enjoy from listening to your favorite music on vinyl, then you’re definitely going to want to bring a portable turntable along if you plan on spending several weeks or months away from home. There’s just something about listening to music on vinyl, whether it’s the large artwork, musty smell, or flipping a disc from one side to the other, that brings about feelings of nostalgia. A record player can really set the tone for any type of gathering. Not only that, but how amazing would it be to wake up early in the morning and listen to your favorite album as you look out your hotel room window to the streets of Florence below?
If you’re going on an expensive trip abroad, it has to be perfect. And how can it be perfect without your favorite albums going along for the ride?
As we’ve mentioned, turntables have experienced a surge in popularity over the past few years and it seems ironic given the major explosion of digital music. However, there are many music lovers who recognize the many benefits of playing their favorite music on vinyl instead of listening to digital files. MP3s and CDs use digital sound, while a turntable will deliver analog playback. A record player can produce a much deeper, richer, and even purer sound quality compared to digital devices. The best portable turntable for your next trip will be a model that’s easy to transport, offers great sound quality and offers a few play speeds. It should also be a record player that works with your budget, especially considering your trip is already costing you thousands of dollars. Fortunately, many manufacturers are now producing the best portable turntables that offer high quality, ease to use, and they’re bound to work with any budget.